If you’re far enough north, the sun will rise like a bull’s horns on the morning of Thursday, June 10. It is an annular eclipse, also known as the ring of fire eclipse. Think of it as a beacon for the June 20 solstice, which is the astronomical start of summer.
The complete annular eclipse can only be seen by people living in a few remote places. But if you’re prepared to wake up to sunrise in plenty of other places and use proper safety procedures, you’ll have a pretty good view of a partial solar eclipse.
Where and when will the eclipse be visible?
On June 10, the Ring of Fire will be visible in a narrow band in northernmost latitudes, starting near Lake Superior in Ontario, Canada, at sunrise or 5:55 a.m. Eastern Time. It will then cross Greenland, the Arctic Ocean and the North Pole, ending in Siberia at sunset, or 7:29 a.m. Eastern Time.
Outside of this band, observers will see a crescent sun or a partial solar eclipse. The closer they are to the center line, the more the sun will disappear. In the New York metropolitan area, said Mike Kentrianakis, who was the Eclipse project manager for the American Astronomical Society during the Great Eclipse of 2017, the sun will be two-thirds dark when it rises at 5:25 a.m. , eastern time.
“It will then reach a maximum darkening of nearly 73% at 5:32 a.m. from New York,” he wrote in an email.
He added: “Expect an unusually dark dawn. It is always darker before dawn. This morning not exactly!
What is an annular eclipse?
During total solar eclipses, the moon totally erases the sun, exposing the shy, feathery crown of our star. These occur every two years.
But during annular eclipses, the moon is far enough away from Earth that it does not cover the entire photosphere, as the bright surface of the sun is called. As a result, a thin circular band of shining sun remains once the moon is centered in front of the sun. It is the “circle of fire”.
At its maximum, the June eclipse will leave 11% of the photosphere still exposed.
Is it safe to watch a partial or annular solar eclipse?
No. Unless you are wearing special protective eyewear, it is never a good idea to look directly at the sun, even if it is partially, totally, or annually eclipsed.
Although you may not be able to see infrared light from the sun, it can cause burns to the retina which may not heal. Such damage can lead to permanent vision loss, depending on the amount of exposure you receive.
To stay safe, wear eclipse goggles when viewing the eclipse. Not sunglasses – eclipse glasses. If you don’t have any leftovers from the ‘Great American Eclipse’ of 2017, you can find a list of reputable suppliers here.
But if you can’t get glasses or other filtering viewers in time for Thursday’s eclipse, there are other things you can do, like making a pinhole projector at home out of cardboard or a cardboard plate. Here are some instructions.
How rare is this kind of eclipse?
Annular eclipses are not that unusual. A “ring of fire” made the show in the Middle East and South and South East Asia in December 2019.
An interesting feature of this eclipse is that it will move north, crossing the North Pole before heading south. The reason for the eclipse to occur so far north is because it appeared near the summer solstice, when the northern half of the planet is near its most extreme tilt toward the sun.
The last crescent sunrise eclipse occurred in New York City was in 1875, Kentrianakis noted. “And they complained like us about getting up so early,” he said.